Monday, June 16, 2008

Funnel Cake

I finished up a conference paper today and decided to unwind by experimenting in the kitchen. I was determined to try out my rosette iron and veganize the 1950s recipe that came with it. I thought a mixture of flax and tofu would replace the egg, while baking powder and soda would help with the leavening action. The batter came together very well (and very easily) and I was ready to go. I dipped the iron in the hot oil, as per the instructions, then in the batter, then back in the oil. The batter puffed up perfectly and I was happy. The only problem was that the cookie totally bonded to the iron and there was no way that puppy was coming off. But, as the old saying goes, when life gives you a bowl of batter and a pan of hot oil, make funnel cakes! These remind me of the days of my youth at Canada's Wonderland riding the roller coasters and chowing down on funnel cakes in the hot sun until I felt like barfing. Ah, the good ol' days. I certainly would not make these on a regular basis on account of the fat, but it was fun to relive an old favourite.


INGREDIENTS
- 1 tbsp finely ground flax seed
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup firm tofu
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- oil for frying
- icing sugar
- strawberry jam

METHOD
1. Get a few inches of oil heating in a pan over med-hi heat. Make sure it is nice and hot.
2. Whisk flax and water together in a small bowl until it thickens. Add flax mixture, tofu, soy milk, flour, vanilla, and salt to a food processor and blend until very smooth. Or, put all ingredients in a container and blend with an immersion blender. Pour into a container with a spout.
3. Test the batter. Drop some batter in the oil. It should sink, then rise to the surface. If it doesn't, add another tbsp of flour. The batter needs to be thick enough to hold together in the oil, otherwise it will scatter instead of making a coherent nest.
4. Drizzle a nest of batter into the oil and cook for a few mins on each side, until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel or paper bags. Repeat with remaining batter. I think the recipe will make about 8 funnel cakes (I experimented a lot with the irons).
5. When cooled a bit, dust with icing sugar. Heat up some strawberry jam and throw that on top as well.